- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 17, 2002

BALTIMORE (AP) A police officer's badge deflected a bullet fired by an assailant Friday during a struggle in a dark alley, leaving the officer slightly injured.
An intense search was under way for the attacker, authorities said.
Officer James Howard was treated Friday night at Maryland Shock Trauma Center for bruises and minor injuries, and released, officials said.
"He's very lucky," Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris said. "The badge is going in the police museum."
Officer Howard was patrolling in Northwest Baltimore about 6 p.m. Friday when he got out of his car and began searching the area on foot, Commissioner Norris said.
A few minutes later, the officer noticed a large man in the alley and called dispatchers, Commissioner Norris said.
The officer approached the man and ordered him to come forward. But the man attacked Officer Howard, Commissioner Norris said.
Officer Howard called for help over his police radio, Commissioner Norris said. The two struggled, and the attacker seized the officer's semiautomatic handgun and fired one round.
The bullet bounced off the officer's badge, part of which fell to the ground, Commissioner Norris said. The fight continued down the alley as they wrestled for control of the weapon.
Officer Howard grabbed the handgun from the attacker and pushed a button that ejected the weapon's ammunition magazine. The officer then fired one round into the air to empty its chamber, the commissioner said.
After the officer emptied the weapon, the attacker ran away and Officer Howard fell to the ground, where other officers found him, Commissioner Norris said.
Officer Howard, 24, graduated from the police academy last month. He previously worked as a police officer in Detroit.


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